Orson Scott Card‘s Ender’s Game is such an exciting, surprising and influential sci-fi story that even if a film version was populated with unknowns, it would have a lot going for it. Director Gavin Hood is raising the bar though, populating his film with an absolutely stellar cast. The latest addition is Ben Kingsley playing Mazer Rackham, a pivotal character whose back story is kind of a major spoiler. I’ll explain with plenty of warning after the jump but for now Kingsley now joins a cast that includes his Hugo co-star Asa Butterfield as Ender, True Grit‘s Haliee Steinfeld as Petra and potentially, but not locked in, Harrison Ford as Colonel Hyrum Graff.

The Hollywood Reporter exclusively broke the news of this casting. They say he’s still in talks, but that likely means it’s just a matter of time.

Fans of Ender’s Game know all about Kingsley’s character, Mazer Rackham, but for those who don’t and want to wait until March 15, 2013, I suggest you leave right now as details about the character would be considered spoilers.

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Spoiler time.

Mazer Rackham is a legendary military leader who, for most of the story, is believed to be dead. It isn’t until later that it’s revealed to Ender the man who last destroyed the Buggers, and whose brilliant mind and maneuvers he’s been studying, is actually still alive. He then becomes Ender’s mentor, pushing him harder and harder to be perfect in his role as a leader.

Casting Kingsley opposite Butterfield makes sense because the dynamic between Rackham and Ender isn’t always happy. The fact that they have a working relationship already, because of Hugo, will certainly make that easier for the young actor. Plus, neither of the men playing these super-genius military types are particularly physically imposing, which says something about the importance of the mind in Card’s world. Then, on top of that, Kingsley just happens to be one of the best actors out there, period.

I think this is amazing casting and the more I hear about this movie the more I get excited. What do you think of Kingsley as Rackham?

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